Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hailey man featured in Boise opera

Express Staff Writer

Austin Amaya lends his talents to a Sun Valley Summer Symphony Music Conservatory performance in 2005. Photo by Tobin Jutte

Homegrown singer Austin Amaya, of Hailey, is taking to the operatic stage in the comic part of a double-bill on April 14 and 15, at 7:30 p.m. at Boise State University. The double-bill in which he is featured includes Gian Carlo Menotti's dramatic opera "The Medium" and Giacomo Puccini's comic opera "Gianni Schicchi." Both one-hour operas will be performed in English.

Amaya, 21, a BSU junior, is a graduate of Wood River High School and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony Music Conservatory. He'll be singing the part of family member Rinuccoi in "Gianni Schicchi." The opera was originally set in Florence but has been updated to 1960s New York City and features a cast of Mafia wannabes intent on getting their hands on the estate of a just-expired wealthy relative.

"It's an ensemble opera and it's a comedy," Amaya said. "It's a niche I've been really lucky to fit into. I really enjoy the linguistic part of it. This summer I'm auditioning for summer programs, have another year of school and then will be auditioning for masters programs."

This is his third opera performance. Amaya was also seen in Laughing Stock Theatre Company's "The Sound of Music" at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum in 2003.

The evening of opera is being presented by the Boise State Music and Theatre departments. Ann Hoste, a theatre faculty member, is directing the opera production. The casts are a compilation of students majoring in theater and music.

Guest starring in "The Medium" is mezzo soprano Tiffany Calas, a member of Opera Idaho, and in "Gianni Schicchi," recent BSU graduate baritone Alex Fuhriman.

Tickets for the shows are $5 for general admission, $3 for seniors and free for students at the door of Morrison Center Recital Hall in Boise. For more information, call (208) 426-3980.

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